Alright, let’s get started with that cooking thing.  I am going to take part of this blog to chronicle some mad insane cooking adventures.  The fun kind.  The ones that involve booze.  And all 100% gluten free.  Yeah, there will be none of that preaching here on how wheat likes to run around kicking puppies and stealing candy from little kids (I don’t roll that way), but I’m on the wheat free bandwagon like a boss. 

A cheating boss.  I ate a cookie last week.  It was delicious. 

ANYWAY.  Back to the soup.  It started with some beans I saw in the market last night.  Anasazi Beans, sometimes called Appaloosa Beans.  Little history lesson here, the Anasazi were an ancient Pueblo tribe, whose name means ‘ancient enemy’ in the Navajo language.  You can probably guess that the term does not go over well with everyone.   Somewhere along the line, somebody changed the name to mean ‘Ancient People.’  Yeah, that doesn’t change the actual Navajo meaning of the word.  Naturally, being referred to as an ancient enemy isn’t the greatest thing in the world.   More reading on the evolution of the word Anasazi, if you want to check it out.   By the way, that’s my housemate’s model of the USS Enterprise.  Beam me up, Scotty.

Anasazi beans and a plastic USS Enterprise model

Eat Beans and Prosper

And then there were veggies.  You know.  Healthy stuff.  I’m a lazy bastard, so I bought some frozen stuff that was on sale and added the beans, some sliced mushrooms, and canned stewed tomatoes.  It’s January, the 2013 edition of the Epic Tomatoes are still in seed form.  My options for fresh tomatoes are limited until the summer, when I can grow my own and stew them myself.

Look at that health food.

Look at that health food.

 And now for the most important part.  We got meat.  Stew beef, bacon, and some kind of bone in beef shank or rib or something.  The meat counter said it was a good cut (and it was on sale), so I bought a two pack and froze one for the next batch of soup.  I use grass fed.  Hands down, it is more expensive.  However, there’s enough info out there on meat and what goes into the animal before slaughter to convince me to make the switch to grass-fed.  I also have this hangup on how animals are treated.  If you kill it, do it humanely and quickly, and use all parts of the animal.  Grass fed hasn’t had grain and hormones shoved into it on giant feedlots.  Do you know how hard this is to write about without sounding preachy?

I hate preachy.  So let’s move on to the booze.  But first, your obligatory meat shot.  We got the beef rib/shank/hunk of dead cow, some stew chuck, and bacon.  The kitchen counter is actually blue laminate, thanks to the landlords and their odd color choices.  It’s pretty badass.  And a bottle of Angry Orchard, which is freaking amazing.  That’s not going into the soup.  I browned the bacon, chopped it up, and threw it in with the rest of the meat, which did not get browned.  Some cooking folks say you should brown the meat before you put it in the pot.  Me?  I didn’t want the extra step or the extra dishes.

Beef and the cider I'm drinking.

Delicious BEEF

Now for the booze that goes into the food.  I hit google and checked out using red wines in cooking.  Beef, beans, bacon, and veggies soup with red wine.  I cracked open the first bottle I found, and…

Red Red Wine

Red Red Wine

It’s sweet.  Very, very sweet.  Delicious too, not bad for a bottle I found for eight bucks at Total Wine.  It is honestly good enough to drink straight out of the bottle, which I’m doing right now.  It goes nicely with Angry Orchard cider.  However, according to a cooking site that’s populated by people who know way more about cooking than I do:  “Never use sweet red wine in cooking.  It should be dry.” 

Really?  Damn.  Oh well, I’ll just have to finish drinking it, since I opened it before I found out that sweet red wine won’t add good things to a soup.  Take two.

The dry wine with the soup.

Need more wine!

That’s a Coastline cabernet sauvignon that I found for about five bucks at the supermarket.  I tasted some of it before it went in the soup, and it’s dry.  Real dry.  Just about all I would use that for is cooking, so I threw in the recommended cup into the soup.  If you’re using red wine to cook, get the three buck chuck.  Dry wines include some merlots and cab sauvs, just make sure you read the description to make sure it’s actually dry.  I got a fantastic bottle of red wine from World Market that did turn out to be a sweet merlot.  They discount their holiday wines 50% right after Christmas, by the way. 

After thinking about it for a minute, I added another half cup of wine because it’s a big pot and has a lot of stuff in it.  Then the seasonings-  some onion powder, garlic salt, worchestshire sauce, and pepper.  It’s going to hang out on the stove until dinnertime.  Then it’s game on.

Some fun stuff for cooking:

Wine Searcher–  all wines, all the time.  Including the expensive ones that most of us will never buy. 

The recipe I started off with.  Then I changed it.  No boullion (the bone rib is in there for flavor and there is a ton and a half of sodium in boullion), no potatoes, I did not trim the fat off- seriously, fat isn’t evil either- and I put bacon in it.  I have nothing against potatoes, by the way.  Most of this will go into containers and be frozen for lunches, and potatoes don’t always freeze well.  I leave them out of things I’ll freeze for leftovers.  Plus a dash of worchestire sauce, because I read that on another website and it sounded like it would work with wine.  Okay, so I really used that recipe just for the amount of tomatoes I should put in.

The Pioneer Woman’s cooking section.  This blog rocks, and she’s got some good cooking tips.

Adventures of a Gluten Free mom.  She’s got gluten free recipes and is pretty low on the preaching.